Call to Industry and Government: Bring Rear-Seat Safety to Its Full Potential

Although it is always safer to ride in a vehicle’s back seat, the relative benefits today decline for children as they age, particularly after they have transitioned out of a CR. This is the overall finding of a Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) study of the state of science on the safety of children and youth in the rear seats of vehicles. CIRP, a group that is part of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, published the findings in its April 2013 CPS Issue Report.   “Optimizing the Rear Seat for Children” includes extensive review of the scientific literature relevant to this subject since 2001.

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How Does Your State’s GDL Law Stack Up?

A 2006 NHTSA-supported study conducted by Johns Hopkins University found that states with comprehensive graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs experienced a 20 percent drop in fatal crashes involving 16-year-olds (Compton & Ellison-Potter, 2008).
All states have some form of GDL, but most are not considered comprehensive.   NHTSA defines a comprehensive GDL program as one that includes at least five of these seven components:

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Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards—Side-Impact Related

Status of CR Side-Impact Regulation

The Department of Transportation’s January 2013 Significant Rulemaking Report provides an update on the status of rulemaking for side-impact CR performance requirements, as well as all other significant projects of NHTSA and other agencies.

The update cites the reason for delay of the next action, a public Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), as “additional coordination necessary.” It now indicates a projected NPRM date of February 15, 2013 (after this issue of SRN goes to press). The NPRM will open a public comment period, which is typically 60 to 90 days from the date of posting.

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Safe Ride News—30 Years Young!

A Review of 30 Years of the Safe Ride News Newsletter is a Journey Through CPS History

To mark our 30th anniversary, in each of this year’s issues our editor-from-day-one, Deborah Davis Stewart,* will give us a peek at some of the important headlines, news stories, and/or quotes from sequential periods of CPS history.  In this issue, she looks back to the very beginning of the newsletter.  Does some of this look familiar?
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Tossing the Gauntlet: An Open Letter to CR Manufacturers to Improve Tether Advice

At Safe Ride News Publications, our team has been busy researching, editing, and compiling the 2013 LATCH Manual.  We are eager for its January publication, which will include many updates and new information.

As part of this process, I’ve spent much of the last few weeks reading CR owner’s manuals (a process that has been aided immeasurably by the SBS USA Child Restraint Manufacturer’s Instructions DVD).  As always, this is fascinating reading and never ceases to turn up new insights about specific models.

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EMS Child Transport Recommendations Published

NHTSA and the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) community have taken a step forward by completing a long-awaited set of EMS best practices for transporting children in ground ambulances.  A draft was issued in mid-2010, as reported in July/August 2010 issue of SRN, and was followed by a public meeting later that year.  The final report varies little from the draft.

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New Book a Timely Ode to the Value of Injury Prevention

A powerful book about injury prevention, a topic very near to my heart, has inspired me to speak out during this political season when we are hearing a lot of rhetoric about too much regulation, the “nanny state,” individual rights to not buckle up or wear a motorcycle helmet, or even not supporting public funding of essential things such as repair of highway bridges.

While We Were Sleeping: Success Stories in Injury and Violence Prevention, by David Hemenway of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, presents a highly readable account of many successful efforts to protect people by preventing unintentional injuries and violence.  It is his “personal ode to public health,” particularly injury prevention, which has fascinated him since the 1960s, when he worked for Ralph Nader and Consumers Union.  He wants to explain the importance of public health because “most people do not recognize, or do not readily recall, when they personally have benefitted from a public health intervention.”

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Today’s CRs More Often Outgrown by Height Than Weight

When considering how long a CR can be used, the tendency is to focus primarily on weight limits. But given the quantity of high-weight-harness (HWH) models on today’s market, most children will outgrow a CR by height before reaching the weight limit—sometimes long before.

It wasn’t always this way. Within recent memory, weight was nearly always the limiting factor, since infant CRs had 22-pound rear-facing limits, and forward-facing harnesses uniformly could be used to 40 pounds.  But CRs today have been strengthened and are rated to be used at much higher weights for either mode, so the mind-set must shift to expecting most CRs to be outgrown by height.

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Strong Belt Laws Boost Use by Teens

A study by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and State Farm insurance shows that teens who drive in states with primary seat belt law enforcement are more likely to buckle up than those in states with secondary enforcement.* It also found that teens buckle up more often while driving (82 percent) than as passengers (69 percent).

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Canadians Warned: Use Only CRs That Meet CMVSSs

In April, Transport Canada (TC) and Health Canada jointly issued a Consumer Information Notice to warn Canadian citizens that it is illegal to import and use a CR in Canada that does not comply with Canadian standards (as verified by the national service mark, shown here). This applies to all CRs, whether purchased by consumers while abroad or shipped to their address by a non-Canadian catalog or online retailer.  The reminder was prompted by reports by border officers and CPSTs indicating an influx of CRs being privately imported into Canada.

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